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Monoclonal antibody treatment center to open in North Idaho

| September 10, 2021 1:00 AM

Heritage Health, in partnership with Northwest Specialty Hospital, will begin offering an antibody therapy designed to reduce the worst symptoms of COVID-19 and prevent hospitalization for people with mild to moderate cases.

To receive a REGENCOV therapy treatment, patients must have a positive COVID test and a referral from a primary care provider licensed in Idaho.

Individuals ages 12 and up can get the treatment at the North Idaho Fairgrounds starting Monday, Sept. 13. Monoclonal antibodies are free to patients and there have been almost no side effects. The treatment is provided on an outpatient basis via four subcutaneous injections.

Patients receiving the injections will be observed by medical professionals for an hour before being allowed to leave the center.

“This treatment has been shown to be most effective when patients receive it as soon as possible after testing positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. Peter Purrington, chief clinical officer for Heritage Health. “It can help reduce severe symptoms and hospitalization.”

REGENCOV, a combination monoclonal antibody therapy, has been authorized under the FDA’s emergency use authorization. Monoclonal antibodies work by targeting the coronavirus spike protein, blocking the virus from entering your body's cells and stopping the infection from spreading.

“This treatment has been shown to be very safe,” said Purrington. “Many patients who have received this treatment have experienced improvement in symptoms shortly after receiving it.”

Northwest Specialty Hospital will be assisting with staffing.

“Northwest Specialty Hospital is proud to be partnering with Heritage Health to provide mAb treatment to patients with Covid,” said Leah Davis, Infection Prevention and Employee Health Manager with Northwest Specialty Hospital. “These treatments can help keep people from being hospitalized allowing the hospital to continue providing care for other illnesses, accidents and trauma.”

Heritage Health plans to treat up to 45 patients a day depending on the supplies of REGENCOV. Initially, the treatments will be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays by appointment.

The new COVID-19 treatment option comes at a critical time for North Idaho residents. The Delta variant has caused a dramatic increase in hospitalizations across Kootenai County. Idaho public health officials have placed North Idaho under Crisis Standards of Care due to staffing shortages and the lack of available hospital beds.

“Thank you to Idaho’s private sector partner, Heritage Health, for quickly adopting and implementing delivery of this life-saving treatment,” Idaho Governor Brad Little said. “A doctor will determine if the monoclonal antibody treatments are appropriate for patients, and the treatments can help Idaho preserve hospital bed capacity. We are fortunate to have another tool to help Idahoans fight COVID-19.”

Although REGENCOV is also indicated for patients exposed to COVID and have high-risk health conditions as Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, due to limited supplies of medication the treatment is currently only available for patients with a positive COVID test and mild to moderate COVID symptoms.

The antibody treatment is not a cure for COVID-19 nor a replacement for vaccination. If you have mild to moderate COVID symptoms and a positive COVID test, contact your primary care provider to see if monoclonal antibody treatment is right for you.

To schedule an appointment call 208-620-5250.